There’s something magical about the sound of a train pulling out of the station and jolting along the open spaces of the world. No worries. No stress. No pressure. Just the opportunity to sit for a while and watch life go by.
Train rides give even the most worn out traveler a chance to take a break, a rest from being on the road. It is the chance to stop and breathe throughout a journey. And, on that journey, the traveler is able to get an entirely different view of the country he or she is visiting.
Much like my experiences with air travel, I find train travel to be equally inspiring. I may not be floating among the clouds, but I am speeding through fields and small towns across a new country. With my headphones in and my eyes looking out towards the world in front of me, I am able to set my mind at ease and just enjoy life.
And in December of 2009, I remember being able to do just that…
Lara and I were on our very own European adventure, covering Ireland, Belgium, and Holland from the 26th of December to the 2nd of January, Lara’s 25th birthday. We had a lot to fill our short time, which meant we had limited time to spend in Brussels. But, we spent it with friends, Brenna and Joe, who were living in the Belgian city.
In twenty-four hours, on very little sleep, we traveled around the rainy city by foot, and then, too quickly, said good-bye to Brussels. It was then that we headed to the train station, so that we could be on our way to Amsterdam to ring in 2010.
I’m not entirely sure why, but this train ride sticks out in my head as being truly special. Maybe, it was because I was surround by friends. Maybe, it was the excitement of heading to another city. Maybe, it was the feeling of a new year coming in at the end of a particularly rough one. Maybe, there wasn’t anything particularly special about it at all, but, to this day, it remains the most memorable.
Something about this ride made me feel alive again after months of feeling dead inside. Months earlier, I had failed at something, something I worked hard on. When it didn’t work out the way I planned, many aspects of my life also fell apart. But, this trip to Europe was one that was helping me build myself back up; this train ride was part of that process. Coasting along, I had the time to sit and reflect on my life.
And so, after our journey full of music, reflection, and laughter, we arrived happily in Amsterdam two and a half hours later. We were revived and refreshed, ready to begin the next part of our adventure. And I was ready to begin the next chapter of my life.
This post is part of BootsnAll’s Indie Travel Challenge 2012.
Week twelve’s topic: What is it about train travel that captivates the imagination of travelers in every corner of the world? What about it makes the word “romantic” so apt? Do you have a rail experience that perfectly captures why we love trains so much? Or are you one of the people who actually avoids trains whenever possible?